After a pair of tough back-to-back losses in the UCF Thanksgiving Classic in Orlando, the Wildcats were able to bounce back in a big way.
Once Villanova snatched the lead in the opening minutes of the game, it hardly looked back, as the Wildcats dominated the visiting Princeton Tigers to win 67-46.
All wins are special, especially coming off of a pair of losses, but for Harry Perretta the victory was even sweeter. Wednesday night marked Perretta’s 750th win as Villanova’s head coach.
Adrianna Hahn and Mary Gedaka spearheaded a strong Wildcat effort on the floor. Hahn scored a game-high 17 points off of 7-of-11 shooting, which included three baskets from long range. As for Gedaka, she was just as efficient and effective. She finished with a double-double, going 6-for-8 on the floor on her way to a 15-point and 12-rebound performance.
While they led the way offensively, it was a team-wide dominant effort defensively, as Princeton struggled to find a rhythm.
After a closely contested first quarter in which Villanova had a four-point lead, the Wildcats were able to gain some separation before the break, taking a 34-22 edge at the half.
For the remainder of the game, the lead never dipped below double digits, as the Wildcats continued to push ahead.
The ‘Cats were at their best in the fourth quarter, starting things off with a 12-4 run to begin the final frame. At one point they were able to build their lead as high as 24 points, and the Tigers weren’t able to keep up.
Defensively, ‘Nova clamped down on Princeton. The Tigers were restricted to shooting just 20-of-58 on the floor (34.5 percent) and a mediocre 3-for-17 showing from beyond the arc (17.6 percent). The Wildcats were also able to dominate on the glass, outrebounding their foes 39-32. It also helped that they were able to collect 12 offensive rebounds, which turned into 13 second-chance points.
With the win, Villanova improves to a 4-2 overall record. As for Princeton, its struggles continue to start the year, as the Tigers fall to 1-7.
It’s been a tough campaign for the Tigers thus far, as they anxiously wait for the return of the injured Bella Alarie. Alarie, a junior forward, led the team in points (13.3 per game), rebounds (9.4 per game), and blocks (2.6 per game) last season and was named the Ivy League Player of the Year. She’s expected to miss the first half of the season, as she recovers from an arm injury.
In her absence, senior guard Gabrielle Rush has led the way as the team’s primary scorer. She scored a team-high 13 points and eight rebounds against Villanova.
The Wildcats will return to action on Sunday afternoon, when they open up Big 5 play against the Saint Joseph’s Hawks. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m. ET.